BBBS, USA Water Polo inspire at ‘In the Game of Life’ event

BBBS, USA Water Polo inspire at ‘In the Game of Life’ event
Gale Nelson, BBBS Miami President and CEO (far left), interviews USA Water Polo team members (l-r) Jordan Raney, Amanda Longan, Emily Ausmus, Rachel Fattal, Maggie Steffens and Ashleigh Johnson.
(Photos courtesy USA Water Polo)

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Miami and the U.S. women’s national water polo team recently came together for the special event, “In the Game of Life: Breaking Barriers, Building Confidence.”

The event aimed to foster inclusivity in sports, particularly in water polo, and encourage water competency skills among local youth. The occasion was graced by the presence of the U.S. women’s national water polo team, visiting in Miami as part of an exhibition series against Spain in preparation for the Summer Olympics 2024 in Paris.

“Coming to Big Brothers Big of Miami has been an awesome experience for me and the team,” said Ashleigh Johnson, goalie and only African American on the U.S. women’s national water polo team. “Just sharing about our experiences with young people in Miami — potential future water polo players, people who are going to learn to swim — and just experiencing the mentorship that we have to offer, that people in their circles have to offer.”

Representatives from local water polo clubs also touched on the fact that Florida ranks among states with the states with the most drownings, demonstrating how water skills saves lives.

“It’s amazing to have the U.S. women’s national water polo team here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. It was game-changing,” said Gale Nelson, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. “Littles had a chance to be up close and personal, talk with them, ask them questions. Not only about the fundamentals of water safety, but also resilience, inclusivity, anything that they experience in or out of the water, they can handle it.”

Nelson said it was such an inspiration, especially as the women prepare to represent the U.S. in the next Olympics.

“To see and hear from Ashleigh Johnson, who is from the 305, it made it even more tangible that that kids can be anything they want to be, and we believe that wholeheartedly here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. But to see someone who grew up not far from here tell her story, this made it even more real.”

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